Pneumatic Vs Walking Boots Non-Pneumatic Walking Boots

If you don’t know what a walking boot is, or have never had the privilege of wearing one, I am sure you have walked down a busy street and observed a person walking around in what appears to be a ski boot. This may seem “strange” especially in midsummer, but that person is wearing a walking boot.

Most doctors refer to these devices as “CAM WALKERS” (walkers with controlled ankle movement). They are available in hi-top or low-top walkers. The hi-top extends to just below the kneecap, where the low-top extends just above the ankle joint.

Hi-top walkers are often indicated for acute ankle sprains, lower leg stress fractures, lower leg soft tissue injuries, stable foot and ankle fractures, and postoperative.

Low walking boots are indicated for postoperative foot surgery, metatarsal and finger fractures, and soft tissue trauma to the foot and ankle.

Your doctor will determine which type of walker is best for you.

One of the unique features of many high- and low-top walkers is a “pneumatic” feature, which allows the doctor or patient to inflate the inner lining of the boot. The purpose of this function is multiple.

When the patient’s leg is placed in the walking boot and placed securely, this inflatable feature provides additional compression to the lower leg / ankle and foot. This is an ideal feature for patients after surgery, when controlling swelling is key to reducing pain and improving healing time.

When properly inflated, these types of walking boots provide better immobilization by contouring around the limb and preventing movement of the legs and feet within the boot. This ensures better healing for patients with fractures that do not require foot or ankle movement.

Many manufacturers obtain this pneumatic feature by placing a pneumatic “bulb” or bubble on top of the walking boot. The patient simply turns a small rheostat located under the bulb to close the tubes and chambers and “pumps” the chambers. When the patient needs to deflate the chambers, they simply turn the rheostat control and the air comes out of the chambers.

There is a slight cost difference between a pneumatic and a non-pneumatic walking boot, but for patients who want additional comfort and fit, it is well worth the additional cost.

Consult your treating physician or therapist to determine which type of walking boot is best for your condition.

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